Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Just In - The Latest Review of "The Last Track" ~ New Suspense Author: Sam Hilliard!


About the Author:  Sam lives outside of NYC with his girlfriend and an army of four cats--one feline under the legal limit.  Working at an all-girls boarding school, he knows world-class drama firsthand.  It's also the reason he studies Krav Maga and Tai Chi.

Book Summary from Cover:
Mike Brody--the man you want, when the one you love is missing.

More than just a master tracker, Mike is a former Special Forces operative, smoke jumper, and now extreme adventure tour guide who can tap into the memory and emotional state of those he pursues.
In The Last Track, Mike is recruited to find an asthmatic boy lost in the dense woods surrounding a dude ranch in Montana.  An unwitting murder witness, the boy burrows ever deeper into the rugged terrain, fearful of being found by the killer.
While Mike tracks the boy, his ex-wife, a journalist, uses her contacts to unravel the truth behind the murder.  Her discoveries threaten to snare them all in a treacherous conspiracy...

My Review:
Sam Hilliard needs to quit his day job and write full time. He's a born writer of the first caliber. "Get out of prep school," as my preppie, grown children say, Sam, and go for your true profession. You have what it takes.

In "The Last Track," Mr. Hilliard introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters. If he isn't writing a series of books about his main character, Mike Brody, the infamous tracker in question, I'm liable to send out a posse to track him!

With all the panache of a seasoned, gripping suspense writer, new author Sam Hilliard scores a direct hit with this book. Character development and His creation of an environment for them is at it's height. I actually saw myself there and felt the angst.

His tracker, Mike Brody, is a complex, infinitely intriguing man displaying a keen ability to track the lost in wilderness situations. He also is an apparent student of how to handle people, include those in positions of authority. His military background lends itself to his tracker abilities.

Using a sort of sixth sense that guides him, comes from an unknown source, and that he keeps close to the vest, Mike Brody is a quietly capable, and virtually unknown man. Personally, I loved this twist on an otherwise familiar protagonist. One not necessarily psychic, but just the right amount of odd. We never quite get a bead on this ability and I'm thinking that leads to another book.

Much could be said about the insights we gain into advanced computer espionage, wilderness survival and law enforcement cooperation, but these things play in accompaniment to the human story of the lost boy and Mike's connection to his family.  His spicey ex-wife is an asset to Mike and the story overall. This balance of story lines renders a wealth of knowledge that keeps the entire piece flowing. "The Last Track" is a page-turner.

Self discovery, coming of age, awareness of womens' issues, and loyalty are themes, as well, in this book. It is a mark of excellence that Sam Hilliard manages to get so much value into his novel without spoiling it. What an accomplishment, particularly for a first time writer.

If I were to give a black-eyed critique of the book, I would say this one thing: it starts off too slowly to capture the average reader. Having said that, I can only encourage readers to persevere. Believe me when I say that this book is worth the effort.

Given Sam's astuteness and his obvious writing skills, we can only believe there are more Mike Brody tracker books in the future. He's left too many unanswered mysteries. We are left begging for more explanations. This is one of the great things about this book.
Who amongst us doesn't love anticipation?

Recommended for all lovers of mystery and suspense novels. For all who love Jeffrey Deaver, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell and Michael Connelly. Yes, Sam Hilliard is that good!


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